Every Effort

2 Peter 3:13-16

13But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. 14So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.


            Once upon a time in the far east, students were on vacation. So, they spent time playing and watching TV. Late in the afternoon, their mother arrived home. She asked her children, “Have you eaten your dinner yet?” What do you think? How did the children respond? What do students normally do during vacation?

            If you are someone who needs somebody to tell you what to do, you could be more fruitful when you’re working under supervision. And if you are someone who is self-driven, you initiate work without anybody telling you what to do. Most likely, you could be more productive when you’re working on your own timeline.

            Let us reflect on what it instructed in Genesis 1:28, 28God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.”

            The first instruction of God to mankind is to be fruitful or to be productive. God blessed us to be fruitful. Does it mean that we could be productive naturally? Fruitfulness is opposed to idleness and unproductiveness. As believers of Christ, God gave us spiritual gift. Why? The Lord expects us to be spiritually productive.

            We must pray that the Holy Spirit may inspire us to obey him. We have to be sure that the obedient Holy Spirit of Christ is present in our life. Why? We’ve got to be sure that Christ takes us into heaven when he returns. The Holy Spirit of God is our warranty of eternal life. He also helps us trust and obey God.

            Hopefully, we learn from the testimony of King David in Psalm 119:97-100: 97Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. 98Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies. 99I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. 100I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts.

When we obey the Lord, his word is our lamp to the path of purity. We want to be blameless when Christ comes anytime soon. Christ promised to return and take us into his heaven. How strong do you believe that promise of Christ?

1.  Promise

13But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

            Do you trust that God will make a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness dwells? Do you accept that the present earth, heaven and all its elements will be destroyed? We can expect this reality by faith in Christ.

What should we do then? We must be more conscious that everything we do, think, desire, should be delightful to the Lord. His Holy Spirit inspires us to do that. We also look forward to that day when Christ comes again, and we must wait patiently for him with eagerness. We are challenged in Romans 8:26-27: 26The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

            Personally reflect on this: Are you waiting eagerly for the promises of Christ to happen? Are you looking forward to his second coming with longing? When we rely upon his Holy Spirit, he produces fruit of patience in us and we eagerly wait for his return. Yet most often, we are more focused on our human inclination.

Technically, we follow our instinct when we are aggravated. When we are provoked, retaliation is natural reaction. The human weakness prevails.

Technical Foul

            Basketball players or sports enthusiasts are familiar with “technical foul.”

A “Technical Foul” is charged when there’s something offensive that had been said or done. For example: One player shoots the basketball, and an opposing player hit hard the shooting player. The shooting player retaliates and hits the player who hit him. A referee may call charging foul on the opposing player, but the shooting player who retaliated could be penalized for “technical foul.”

            Players retaliate when they’re provoked, even if they will be penalized with technical foul? Is it human instinct to defend the self by all means? When one got hurt and human instinct prevailed, is it natural tendency for humans to retaliate?

            We learn and heard that it is favorable for us to participate in the ministry.

Most often, we follow our natural instinct, we would rather do things that attract attention or visit places of our choice. How often do we reflect on our decisions?

            Our natural tendency is to follow human instinct when we make decisions.

            If you can help it, meditate on your situation, when Christ returns anytime.

            Pray that the Holy Spirit inspires you to get involved in the ministry as we wait patiently for the coming of Christ. We make sure all our effort would count.

When we use our spiritual gifts, we earn eternal treasure. But still, we need the Holy Spirit to decide on performing things that may help us earn eternal treasure.

When we know that we have stored up eternal treasures for ourselves in heaven, we have eagerness in waiting for the Lord; we also sense peace in us.

2.  Peace

14So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 

            Certainly, for us to make every effort to be found spotless blameless and at peace with Christ, we have to be mindful and rely upon his Holy Spirit always.

            And if we sense peace and don’t feel guilty before the Lord when he comes again, we’ve got confidence to stand face to face before him without any guilt.

Personally, let us consider what it declares in Psalm 119:1-2, 1Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. 2Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.

Someone said, “It is very easy to point the mistake of others but we are very slow to admit our own mistake.” Why? Admission of our own mistake is the key to repentance. Repentance is transformational work of the Holy Spirit.

            Certainly, everyone has committed sin. The Scripture teaches that when we know the good we ought to do but we don’t do it, we are guilty of sin.

Every one of us should reflect on what it declares in Psalm 119:9. 9How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.


            It’s springtime! Have you planted flowers, veggies and trees? Someone says, “I don’t like huge fruit trees on my backyard; it destroys my green lawn!”

Is it possible to manage the size of fruit trees? You can train fruit trees to have enough space for your flowers and veggies. How? You train fruit trees on an espalier. How does espalier work? Train or guide a very young tree into a shape, height or design that you desire by using trellis or framework. You may learn from online videos about espalier. Learn how to maintain the size of your fruit trees.

            Older trees with huge trunks are impossible to bend; they will break if you force older trunks to bend. Older trunks do not have flexibility to bend. What do you think is better: to train a young man or an old man? “Old dogs learn no trick!”

            What is “Old dogs learn no trick!” It means older people are harder to train.

Espalier is used to shape young fruit trees. Similarly, the Holy Spirit of God guides and shapes us spiritually with the Scripture. When we ignore the teaching of the Lord, we are either old or not yet trained according to his word.

When you have dementia or loss of memory, it could be very difficult for you to learn new lessons. It is still possible but it is not very pleasant reality.

Let us personally reflect on our spiritual life. Do I still want to learn how I may grow blameless before the Lord? Do I still want to be guided by the word of God? May our prayer be like Psalm 119:10-12, 10I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. 11I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. 12Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees.

            Consistent meditation on the word of God requires help of the Holy Spirit.

It is godly command to be filled with the Holy Spirit. He guides, teaches and even redirects us, if we needed it. Most often, we want to quickly accomplish things. But the Lord has designed everything beautiful at his proper time.

            Everyone is made beautiful in the perfect time of God. Do you believe that?

Some people are beautiful when they’re young; others grew beautiful at old age. Someone attended a high school reunion and observed that his classmates have changed physically. Some who were cute in high school didn’t grow old gracefully.

Are you tempted to compare your life with your contemporaries or friends? Do you feel like the progress of your life is very slow? When progress of life seems very slow as compared to your friends, relatives or contemporaries, but still, you have peace from God, you can patiently wait for the day when he brings you to the kind of life he designed for you as practical proof of your faith in him.

            So, pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit to have peaceful joy and patience.

3.  Patience

15Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

            Pertaining to the return of Christ, others may not believe it but the Lord is patiently waiting for everyone to repent and to accept his offer of salvation from eternal punishment and to be transported to eternal life with him in his heaven.

            What did they distort in the Scripture that Apostle Paul wrote also? It is the mystery of Christ’s gospel. Apostle Paul revealed in Ephesians 3:6: 6This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.

In the first century Christianity, scoffers mockingly ridicule the promise of Christ to return. They say, “Where’s this promise of coming again of Christ?” It is possible that those scoffers have come from Judaism. Likewise, there are also scoffers in our generation who mock our hope that Christ may return sooner.

            Certainly, we do not know when Christ may come again, but we want to be ready whenever he comes anytime soon. We don’t want to be caught by surprise.

Home Court Advantage

            In basketball world, sports teams would prefer to play in their home court. Why? They are familiar with their gym, more people in the crowd will be cheering for them,  and there are other advantages of playing in their home court.

            The coach of a popular basketball team had warned his players not to relax. “The other team will be very aggressive.” Conversely, his players were confident that they will win because of their home court advantage, so they relax a little bit. To their surprise, the warning of their coach happened, and they lost the game.

            Sadly, over self-confidence has victimized many inexperienced individuals. As believers, our confidence should be with the Lord Jesus Christ and not on our instinct or ability. King David was victorious in all his battles. His open secret was: he always recognized his need of help from the Lord. He said in Psalm 144:1-2: 1Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. 2He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.

Listen: God may have been calling you to join a ministry team: worship, mission, evangelism, fellowship or leadership ministries. You may be called fulltime or not.

Pray to be filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit, and wait for it. Observe and try ministries that may attract you, but keep asking the Lord to confirm it in your heart which ministry he wants you to excel and become blessing to him.

When the Holy Spirit is at work in our heart, like King David, we will readily thank and praise God for his wonderful work in our life. We praise and thank God for helping us to make every effort counts for our eternal treasures in heaven.

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